John Westen

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Ontario Catholic teachers union funds leading gay activist group

John Westen
John Westen
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TORONTO, December 16, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Faithful Catholic teachers are outraged after discovering that the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) is funding Canada’s leading homosexualist organization with dues collected from them.

According to OECTA’s website, the organization represents 45,000 teachers in publicly-funded English Catholic schools in the province.  All the teachers are compelled to pay dues to the organization, which vary according to teaching status, with many having nearly $1000 per year deducted from their paychecks. This gives the union huge financial clout.

In its 2009-2010 Annual Report, the organization Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE), which famously lobbied successfully to legalize gay ‘marriage’ in Canada in 2005, lists OECTA as a partner (See page 3). 

EGALE’s support of same-sex ‘marriage’ often included ferocious attacks against the Catholic Church.  In a 2005 essay two prominent EGALE leaders, Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, condemned Calgary Bishop Fred Henry for defending natural marriage.

“We predict that gay marriage will indeed result in the growth of acceptance of homosexuality now underway, as Henry fears,” they wrote. “But marriage equality will also contribute to the abandonment of toxic religions, liberating society from the prejudice and hatred that has polluted culture for too long.”  They labeled Bishop Henry a “religious extremist,” and a “bigot,” adding, “It’s good to remember that bishops like him supported Hitler.” 

LifeSiteNews asked OECTA how much money the Catholic organization gave to the homosexual activist group, how it justified such support and if members were aware of the support.  However, OECTA Director of Communications Michelle Despault refused to reveal the sum given to EGALE.

“In response to your questions I am providing you a statement from the OECTA handbook,” said Despault in an email reply.  She quoted a section of the handbook which claims that the organization is pro-life, and sees ‘sexism and homophobia’ as threats to life.

That section states:

the Association affirm the sacredness of all life: of human life created in God’s image and all other forms of life with which we share this planet.  Therefore: the Association reaffirms Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death; the Association denounces all threats to life such as euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, genocide, racism, sexism and homophobia; the Association is committed to supporting programs and actions which defend and promote the dignity of life.

The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO) did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.  Neil MacCarthy, Communications Director in the office of Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins, the current President of the ACBO, told LifeSiteNews that there is no official statement at this time, but that the archdiocese would be monitoring the issue closely.

LifeSiteNews spoke with numerous Catholic teachers about the issue; however, most refused to speak publicly for fear of retaliation by the powerful union.  Many expressed their disappointment, frustration and helplessness at being unable to prevent their money from supporting a group that attacks the Catholic Church.  They said they were not surprised by the move, however, given OECTA’s past controversies.

Barry Mombourquette, a teacher in the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, was willing to speak on record.  Mombourquette noted that $950 is deducted annually from his paychecks to pay his union dues to OECTA.  “As a union paying member for 32 years, I have no problem saying I’m opposed to this,” he said. 

“We as Catholic teachers must uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church and our monies should in no way be supporting organizations or efforts which oppose Catholic Church teaching,” he said.

One of the teachers who commented anonymously explained that he was the sole income earner for his family and could not risk speaking out publicly against the union.  “It’s a kick in the teeth” he said. “Can you imagine trying to uphold the Catholic faith and your leadership both at the board and union level undercutting what you’re doing?” 

“We need the bishops to step up and stop this,” he added. “If we could see support and protection from the bishops then we could speak out. If we stick our necks out without that support that’d be suicide.”

Mary Nicol, a retired teacher who taught for 33 years at St. Maria Goretti in Scarborough, told LifeSiteNews that at one time she was proud to be a member of the Catholic teachers union.  “Now, I’m ashamed of having been part of OECTA. I’m glad I’m no longer involved,” she said.

While OECTA refused to reveal the details of their financial contributions to EGALE, LifeSiteNews did uncover one $1000 donation.  The June 2010 issue of the OECTA publication AGENDA contained a short article entitled “OECTA Supports Egale,” which noted a $1000 donation towards the launch of an EGALE website for Gay-Straight Alliances.

Homosexual activists have promoted such school clubs as providing ‘safe’ environments in schools for homosexual students.  Critics argue, however, that the groups encourage the normalization of the homosexual lifestyle.

Campaign Life Catholic, which opposes GSA’s in schools, told LifeSiteNews that opposition to OECTA’s radical departure from core Catholic moral teachings is long overdue. 

Over the last decade OECTA has promoted bizarre sex conferences featuring talks on drag queens and sex toys; used their own conferences to feature leading dissident Catholics and abortion supporters; seriously mulled the official promotion of homosexual ‘marriage’; and even sought to intervene in a court proceeding against a Catholic school which was being sued by a male student for refusing to permit him to bring his gay ‘boyfriend’ to the school prom.

“Parents who send kids to Catholic schools assume naturally that our Bishops provide religious education for teachers,” said Suresh Dominic, spokesman for Campaign Life Catholic. “That’s not the case whatsoever.

“OECTA provides much of the religious education for teachers and principals through workshops and seminars. Many of these deal with ‘sexual orientation’, ‘sensitivity training for LGBTQ issues’, ‘transgender issues’, ‘homophobia’, etc.” 

He concluded: “Given that OECTA is an official partner of EGALE, shouldn’t the Bishops take back the religious formation responsibility from OECTA? Or at the very least, ensure that guest speakers and presenters are hand-picked by the Bishops, not by OECTA?”


To make your voice heard:

Archbishop of Toronto
http://www.archtoronto.org/arch_offices/archbishop.html

Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association OECTA
contact@oecta.on.ca

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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